The Future of Supported Employment (1)

The Future of Supported Employment (1)

Posted by Phillip Camela.

Following the recent national consultations on the Future for Supported Employment, the Department of Social Services has published a Summary Report on the major themes raised by stakeholders. There is also a Summary of Consultations with employees with disability working in ADEs.

In the meantime, the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) has expressed concerns to the Minister Dan Tehan thatpeople with disability are at risk of being pigeon-holed by supported employment reform.

In a Media statement AFDO's CEO Ross Joyce said:  " We are extremely concerned that the process has largely focused on the viability of Australian Disability Enterprises, rather than how support can increase full inclusion and employment participation in mainstream settings, which should be our ultimate aim. The voice of people with disability, of which there are thousands working in open employment with support, has not been captured at all ". You can read the full media statement here.

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
Supports the NDIS will fund in relation to employment.

Supports the NDIS will fund in relation to employment.

Posted by Phillip Camela.


About the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing community inclusion and individualised support for people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has been established to implement the NDIS.

What supports related to employment will the NDIS fund?

Many NDIS participants will be employed or seeking employment. The NDIS, employers and employment assistance services will all play an important role in supporting a participant’s employment.

Supports funded by the NDIS

The NDIS will fund supports to help participants with employment where these are beyond the requirements of employment services and employers. The NDIS will also fund supports the participant would require regardless of the activity they are undertaking. This includes:

• assisting participants who are not eligible for Disability Employment Services (DES) or Job Services Australia (JSA) to build their skills and capacity to participate in employment, as well as help to find and maintain employment

• personal care or assistance with transport where the participant requires these supports regardless of the activity they are undertaking

• assistive technology devices such as wheelchairs, personal communication devices or a hearing aid

• supported employment, such as services offered by Australian Disability Enterprises.

For a full NDIS Fact Sheet on Employment supports click the link below.


Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
AED Wins 2018 LIV Access to Justice Award

AED Wins 2018 LIV Access to Justice Award

Posted by Phillip Camela.

AED was honoured and humbled to receive the LIV Access to Justice Award last night in recognition by the Legal Community for the work we do in the Disability sector. Much has been done, especially in in relation to wages for people with disability but there is much more to do. The fight goes on. We shared the award with Emma from Kennedy Lawyers and we congratulate her as well as Rory from Slater’s as a fellow finalist. May their fantastic work continue. Congratulations to the AED team as well as the volunteers and students who without their hard work we couldn’t achieve it all. Thank you.

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.


Posted by Phillip Camela.

We are pleased to announce that AED Legal Centre has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 2018 Law Institute of Victoria Award in the Access to Justice category. This is an important recognition of our work from our peers and we are truly delighted. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday May 18 at the Atlantic, Peninsula A, Shed 14, Central Pier, 161 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands. This is a team effort and we take this opportunity to thank everyone at AED, the Committee, staff and volunteers, for their dedication, their valued contribution to a great cause and a wonderful effort.

PHOTO Left to Right: Phillip Camela - General Manager and Kairsty Wilson - Principal Legal Practitioner.

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
Vale Brian Bourke

Vale Brian Bourke

Posted by Kairsty Wilson.

AED Legal Centre is mourning the passing of Brian Bourke, who died on Good Friday after a short illness. He was 88.

Mr Bourke was a friend of AED and supported many of our clients. We would often call on Mr Bourke asking for his assistance. He always responded with his usual generosity committing much of his time in helping our clients for free.

Mr Bourke practised law for more than 50 years and was Melbourne’s longest serving barrister. Last year Mr Bourke was honoured for his services to law and football by being made a Member of the Order of Australian (AM) in the General Division.

We at AED Legal Centre offer our condolences to Brian Bourke’s family and friends, including his wife Jen, his four daughters and six grandchildren.

Kairsty Wilson Posted by Kairsty Wilson.
Employment terminated after disability disclosure

Employment terminated after disability disclosure

The client was the wife of and is the trustee and executor of the estate of a deceased 45 year old male who had been diagnosed with cancer. His work hours were reduced and employment eventually terminated after disclosing his cancer diagnosis to an employer he had been working for 17 years.  

The deceased had worked for his employer for 17 years, no issues ever being raised about his performance. After disclosing his diagnosis, his hours were drastically reduced and his employment eventually terminated several months later. The employer claimed that the deceased was unable to perform his daily work functions and posed a risk of danger to other staff. This contradicted a medical certificate issued at the time declaring that the deceased was fit for work.

With the support of AED, the client filed an anti-discrimination complaint to VCAT on behalf of the deceased, under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. The employer made a strike out application on the basis that the client did not have sufficient standing under the law to bring such a claim on behalf of another person. A hearing was held where barristers for both parties put forth arguments claiming that the client had or did not have, under relevant legislation, sufficient interest to make the complaint on the deceased’s behalf.

 Current legislation is unclear about the client’s position with regards to commencing her action. In such circumstances, Parliament’s intention in enacting the relevant legislation is considered. The VCAT member found that the objectives of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 include the ongoing improvement of society by the elimination of unlawful discrimination and that the client is not excluded from taking the present action against the deceased’s employer. The strike out application was therefore dismissed and matter is ongoing.


Kate back on the job after dismissal

Kate back on the job after dismissal

WHEN Kate Last was sacked she thought her world had ended.

The Parkville woman, who has an intellectual disability and short-term memory loss, worked for a disability service provider for four years before being dismissed.

Ms Last said the reason given for her dismissal was she had become a danger to other employees.

The 40-year-old was handed a letter of termination and escorted off the premises.

She said in her job she was required to undertake multi-tasking but due to her disability, she wasn’t able to understand new tasks that were only relayed verbally.

Her co-workers went on strike after learning why Ms Last wasn’t at work.

Ms Last said in the years that followed she lost a lot of weight and at times contemplated suicide.

Ms Last said because she felt she was wrongly done by she contacted the Association for Employees with a Disability Legal Centre to get her job back.

Two and a half years later and three days before a scheduled hearing at the Fair Work Commission she was reinstated.

Ms Last said when she learnt she could go back to work she was over the moon.

Dismissal in contravention of a general protection

Dismissal in contravention of a general protection

A 42 year old male with brain damage after an accident, as well as physical injuries including shoulder reconstruction and broken back and neck contacted ADE Legal Centre. 

The client was unpaid by his employer for substantial number of hours worked beyond his employment contract. He was also made to perform duties outside of the scope of the contract, subjected to treatment by the employer amounting to bullying and/or vilification and not provided with entitlements under his contract. The employer made rude and abusive comments about the client’s and his partner’s disabilities to other staff.

The matter was initially brought to the Fair Work Commission as a General Protections Application Involving Dismissal, under the Fair Work Act 2009. A conciliation was organised by the Commission but no settlement was reached.

The parties continued negotiating on their own but failed to reached agreement. The matter was subsequently filed at the Federal Circuit Court as a Claim under the Fair Work Act 2009 alleging dismissal in contravention of a general protection. A mediation was organised by the court in which the parties managed to reach a mutually agreeable settlement

The outcome of AED's intervention is that the parties agreed on terms of settlement after a mediation at the Federal Circuit Court.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments for employee with disability cost employer over $170k

Failure to make reasonable adjustments for employee with disability cost employer over $170k

19 July 2015

Article by Louise Rumble and James True

Marque Lawyers

The Federal Circuit Court has ruled that Corrective Services NSW unlawfully discriminated against Caryn Huntley, an employee, who suffered from Crohn'sDisease and idiopathic hypersomnolanceby failing to make "reasonable adjustments".

While the Court found a number of flaws in Corrective Services NSW's handling of the medical condition and subsequent termination, it focussed on the employer's obligations around "reasonable adjustments". Suffering the disease and sleep disorder ("disabilities" for the purposes of disability discrimination legislation), Ms Huntley had provided medical evidence to the employer regarding her ability to perform her role which, relevantly, included some travel.

The Court found the employer had misinterpreted that evidence when it determined Ms Huntley should be medically retired because she was unable to travel for more than 30 minutes. On the contrary, that medical evidence asserted Ms Huntley could take trips greater than 30 minutes, so long as she was able to take a break along the way. A reasonable adjustment to make?

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (Act) provides that an employer will not have unlawfully discriminated against an employee if, because of the disability, the employee would be unable to carry out the inherent requirements of the job even if the employer made reasonable adjustments for that employee. Under the Act, an adjustment is reasonable unless making it would impose an unjustifiable hardship on the employer.

So, did Corrective Services NSW make reasonable adjustments? Basing its decision on the fact the employer had misinterpreted the medical evidence presented by Ms Huntley, had considered the condition an "illness" rather than a "disability" (the latter meaning the disability discrimination legislation was relevant) and subsequently terminated the employment, the Court said no.

Corrective Services NSW had failed to: consider the inherent requirements of the role; consider any reasonable adjustments that could be made to assist the employee to perform the inherent requirements; and implement those adjustments. Relevantly, the employer was ordered to pay compensation for pain and suffering and breach of contract to the tune of over $170k plus interest.

Lessons learned: employers ought to carefully consider whether an employee's illness or medical condition is a "disability" and, if so, take steps to comply with the obligations which arise from the disability discrimination legislation. A failure to do so could be costly.

We do not disclaim anything about this article. We're quite proud of it really.




(03) 9639 4333

Level 9
45 William Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

view map